The nation’s largest community solar farm to be 100% dedicated to low and moderate-income (LMI) residents is coming to Montgomery County, Maryland. Ameresco and Neighborhood Sun, a community solar company with solar software platform Sun Engine announced the project this week. Through the subscription program, Montgomery County residents who are on the utility Pepco and who qualify as LMI are eligible to receive 25% savings on their electricity costs every month. Subscriptions are now available here.
The array is sited on the capped Oaks Landfill in Gaithersburg. The 6-MW project is divided into three 2-MW arrays. Array 1 is for use by the County and under a power purchase agreement. Arrays 2 and 3 will be the community solar project with 100% of the generated electricity provided to low-to-moderate income residents.
“The equitable and just deployment of renewable energy in the U.S. is critical to expanding our clean energy economy and addressing environmental injustice,” said Gary Skulnik, CEO, Neighborhood Sun. “As a Montgomery County business, we are especially pleased with the county’s support for expanding energy access into underserved communities.
Project construction is expected to begin in early 2022.
“This project provides not only energy cost savings to the County and its participating low-to-moderate-income residents, but also leverages the use of an under-utilized land asset that will produce revenue for the County, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to its carbon neutrality goal,” said Ameresco Senior Vice President Jon Mancini. “Through this initiative, the County will demonstrate continued commitment to sustainability that will deliver economic and environmental benefits to the Montgomery County Community for many years to come.”
The project received a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration.
“The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) was pleased to provide for this project over $950,000 in grant funding through MEA’s Low-to-Moderate Income Community Solar Program, which provides incentives to reduce the cost of electricity generated from clean energy to Marylander’s, with income limitations that result in energy costs being a disproportionate portion of their household expenses,” said Mary Beth Tung, Director, MEA.
Regulators in Maryland recently voted to expand the capacity of the state’s community solar program as well as improve access for LMI customer participation in the state’s Community Solar Pilot Program.
News item from Ameresco